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Washington is already working on a second round of stimulus payments for US taxpayers.


Angela Lang/CNET

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Will there be a “next” stimulus check from the IRS this year? The first coronavirus stimulus checks are nearly paid out, and the government has already begun to debate a second round of payments for individuals and families. In fact, the Heroes Act, which was proposed earlier this month, could supply an extra $1,200 per person on top of what the first relief checks provided. Worth $3 trillion total, the next package has passed the House of Representatives and is now before the Senate.

The hope is that a second stimulus check could further help prop up a slumping US economy. In Senate testimony last week, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Jerome Powell called for additional economic relief. Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 38.6 million Americans sought unemployment benefits (PDF) in the past 10 weeks. This week, a top White House economist warned that unemployment could rise up to 20% in June. In some US states, it already has. The International Monetary Fund forecast a deep global recession that could become the worst since the Great Depression.

At this point, several things could happen. The bill could get signed into law as is (that may not be likely), or it could become a different aid package through bipartisan negotiation. It could also fail, with a new proposal taking its place. There’s hope that some sort of second stimulus proposal will pass. The White House has signaled it would support a second stimulus check, according to CNBC.

Here, we’ll outline how much money you might expect to get, common arguments for and against the proposed act and what happens next. This story updates frequently with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you’re waiting for your money, you can track the status of your stimulus check with the IRS and use a free USPS service to see when your check is coming in the mail. We also know some possible reasons why your stimulus check hasn’t arrived.


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Heroes Act: How much more money could I get?

The Heroes Act includes a wide range of benefits, such as a second direct payment to individuals and households of up to $1,200 per family member, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). 

The cap of $6,000 per household is higher than the first stimulus round and would raise the allowance per dependent from $500 to $1,200, with a maximum claim of three dependents. So, if five people in the household are eligible for $1,200 apiece, the family would net $6,000 in stimulus money.

You would also be able to claim children 17 years and older, a departure from the first stimulus bill, which skipped over 17-year-olds and some college students. The Heroes Act further proposes that group of dependents and eligible noncitizens receive retroactive payments to compensate for the first stimulus check that passed them by.

The Heroes Act would also carry over the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week (on top of states’ typical unemployment payout) to January 2021. That detail is already contested, however. In addition, the bill seeks to set aside money for struggling businesses, the US Postal Service and coronavirus testing costs

Passing the House of Representatives, which is controlled by a Democrat majority, is one step in the journey from bill to law, but is not a guarantee that the second bill will clear its next stage: approval by the Republican-controlled Senate.

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The hope is that a second stimulus check would help keep individuals and small businesses solvent.


Angela Lang/CNET

The argument in favor of another round of stimulus checks

The proposed legislation is a self-described “bold response to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse,” according to the House fact sheet. The financial support is intended to cushion “the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis.” 

The goal of a second IRS stimulus check is in part “putting much-needed money in the pockets of the American people,” Pelosi said in a recorded statement. You can watch her speak about the legislation here. 

Since the middle of March, more than 38 million US workers who have lost their jobs have filed for unemployment. The actual number of those unemployed since governors and mayors locked down their states and cities to stop the spread of the coronavirus is likely higher — perhaps millions higher — because many who are eligible couldn’t file a jobless claim. With the job losses, the nation’s unemployment rate reached 14.7%. The newly unemployed, along with others taking an economic hit from the pandemic, might benefit from having more money to spend right now. 

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For many, the stimulus check will help pay for rent and groceries.


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The argument against a second wave of relief payments

Some in Washington, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, question whether the preceding relief measures have met their goals and want to tap the brakes before approving more federal spending to evaluate the effects of the already-approved relief packages. McConnell and others also express concern about how additional stimulus packages will increase the historic federal deficit.

“So let me state the obvious,” John Barrasso, a Republican senator from Wyoming, tweeted last Tuesday. “What Nancy Pelosi is proposing will never pass the Senate.”

Because that payment is available in addition to regular jobless benefits and enhanced unemployment benefits of $600 per week, some critics have said it will make it harder to reduce unemployment ahead if people don’t feel incentivized to return to work. The original relief measure also provides a 15% boost in federal food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

What will happen next

It isn’t clear when the Senate will make a decision on the Heroes Act, though negotiation to rework the content of the bill is expected.

It’s widely believed that Republicans will continue to push back against the bill and may work with The White House on their own stimulus package. Senate Majority Leader McConnell said more aid may be necessary, but it may take a different form than the House bill being proposed. Congress is also working to make it easier to forgive small business loans that are part of the Cares Act that passed in March.

Note that any second stimulus package that passes both the House and the Senate would still need a signature from President Trump before it could take effect.

We’ll update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’d like to share available resources about unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.

source: cnet.com

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